Eighteen years before Tom Harpur authored the most controversial thing he ever wrote, the bestselling Canadian nonfiction book of 2004, The Pagan Christ, he penned For Christ’s Sake. It was plenty contentious: The Anglican called it “radical,” for it “strips away the mythology about Jesus”; The United Church Observer acknowledged its “often courageous writing,” as it “calls into question status-quo religion.”
But, oh, some lay readers loved it: Phil Reda enthused, “My faith has been kicked into overdrive after reading this book….”; and Frank King raved, “What a revelation! With compassion and intelligence, Harpur shows…why Christ is not, and never was God in the flesh.”
He once allowed that he was, as a Globe obit reported, “unsettled by his own changes in thinking,” but found, as he put it in The Pagan Christ, “a richer, more spiritual faith than I ever knew before.”
Harpur, who died three years ago, was an Anglican priest, and a New Testament professor at University of Toronto. But it was for his books and his newspaper writings that he gained international fame: with the Toronto Star for almost 40 years, he wrote over 1,000 columns, and served as religion editor for a dozen years.
For Christ’s Sake
By Tom Harpur
Oxford University Press, 1986
The previous Featured Book, Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis, is now available in the Library.